Making Connections consultation report published

Consultation report published

A report outlining the results from the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Making Connections public consultation has been published today at https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/mc-22

More than 24,000 people responded to the consultation, which proposed measures to transform the bus network alongside better walking and cycling infrastructure that would be funded in the long term by the phased introduction of a road-user charge.

The key findings and the wide-ranging views – both in favour and against the proposals – are contained in a paper to the GCP’s Joint Assembly which meets next month.

The headlines are:

  • Over 70% of people were in favour of the future transport network – with more buses to more locations, cheaper fares and longer operating times supported by better walking and cycling infrastructure to give people faster, cheaper and more reliable travel alternatives to the car.
  • 58% of respondents opposed the proposed Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) as the means for delivering the transport vision. Opposition increased with age from 35 to 64 with 55-64 year olds the most likely to oppose. Those who lived outside of Cambridge were also more likely to oppose.
  • 34% of people support the STZ as proposed. Support was highest among the youngest and the oldest respondents, who are more likely to find it most difficult to access education and healthcare due to the limitations of the existing bus network. Support was highest in the city centre and west of the city.
  • Around half of those who oppose the STZ did support the vision for better buses.
  • The views from organisations such as business, healthcare and others were broadly supportive of the plans but with caveats about the impact on staff or those who were vulnerable.
  • Additional representative opinion polling was carried out which showed opposition and support for a road user charge was more balanced.

The reasons for supporting or opposing varied but covered a variety of areas:

  • Those who supported the proposals were keen to get more frequent bus services, would be able to cycle more safely and generally were positive towards the idea of a charge to tackle climate change and reduce congestion.
  • While those who opposed felt the exemptions didn’t go far enough, and perceived a charge to be unfair, in particular on those travelling to Addenbrooke’s and Royal Papworth hospitals, and also believed there would be a negative impact on jobs.

With a large number of free text responses in the survey to supplement the ‘closed questions’, a lot of detail is now available about what people feel could be positive amendments to the scheme. These included changing the rate for cars, changing the hours, amending the discounts and exemptions and altering the boundaries.

The report will be discussed at the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Joint Assembly meeting on Thursday 8 June.